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Talkeetna Braces For Flooding

By | September 21, 2012 - 5:36 pm

Sandbagging the end of Main Street, downtown Talkeetna. Photo from KTNA - Talkeetna

Governor Sean Parnell declared a state of emergency for Talkeetna at a press conference late Friday afternoon.

Large areas of East Talkeetna are under several inches of water, affecting about 100 homes. The Talkeetna River began to rise Wednesday night, and breached its banks on Thursday morning, flowing in to East Talkeetna.

A rock riprap levee on the northwest edge of the town was breached about 11 a.m., prompting evacuation notices from the local Fire Chief Ken Farina.

Emergency operations were organizing to start a sandbag operation in east Talkeetna when reports of a rapidly rising Susitna river raised concerns of widespread flooding. Captain Tim Morgan with Talkeetna Fire and Rescue says the limited resources on hand today were first used to evacuate the town.

Robin Radlein from the National Weather Service is the hydrologist in charge of the Alaska Pacific Forecast center and has been monitoring flood conditions in the Susitna Valley. Radlein says the rising Susitna River could leave the already flooding Talkeetna river with nowhere to go, causing a bottle neck that could mean more breaching of levees.

With the majority of people removed from town, emergency workers organized remaining volunteers to begin sandbag work in downtown Talkeetna to limit encroaching water coming in to Main Street from the Susitna River. A shortage of sandbags has limited the amount of preventative measures for Main Street and river-front area of Downtown Talkeetna

Chris Love is working as an emergency responder and swift-water rescue. At 2 p.m. he was tasked with coordinating the sandbag efforts on Main Street in Talkeetna where the town and riverfront meet.

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